The people of Durham, N.C., have the right idea. Not only have they taken down a Confederate war statue themselves, but they’ve lined up en masse to turn themselves in for that crime, overwhelming the so-called justice system.
The people of Wunsiedel, Germany, have the right idea. They’ve responded to Nazi marches by funding anti-Nazi groups for every Nazi marcher, and cheering on and thanking the marchers.
The people of Richardson, Texas, have the right idea. Members of a mosque intervened between anti-Muslim demonstrators and violent would-be defenders, and left the rally with the anti-Muslims to discuss their differences at a restaurant.
Every situation is different, and the same approach won’t work everywhere, or even necessarily work more than once in the same place. The bigger and less accountable the target — for example state or federal government instead of local — the tougher the challenge. But local actions and global communications can create momentum.
Here in Charlottesville, Va., for example, we have giant statues that would be hard to move. And smashing them would offend more people than leaving them up. Or at least that’s the case with Lee and Jackson. Pulling down the generic Confederate soldier and turning ourselves in for it by the thousands might work.
But there’s no reason we can’t cover the statues with giant curtains reading: “DANGER: Enter at risk of racism, bellicosity, and erroneous history.” There’s nothing stopping us from erecting better statues ourselves, as people did in Baltimore before their city was moved to take the Confederates down. I’d like a statue of Olaudah Equiano. Giant helium balloons and projected lights are also tools available. Public officials could compete for getting their names on Lee’s horse’s ass.
Eons ago when we pushed UVA to raise wages to $8/hour, stores and houses in Charlottesville put up signs in their windows in support. “Lee does not speak for me” signs could be everywhere. Every City Council meeting and public-speaking period thereof could be packed with advocates for the cause. Judges hearing court cases, and state legislators interfering in local public space could be targeted with nonviolent, educational, and lobbying efforts, including protests, sit-ins, petitions, and public debates. We could ask them to emancipate Emancipation Park and bring them an emancipation proclamation to sign. The ghosts of people Lee enslaved could haunt them. We could begin addressing each of them as Trump Supremacists until they act against his racist agenda.
A people’s march from Charlottesville to Richmond could tell the state government to let our city decide on its own public monuments. It could also insist that Virginia take its Robert E. Lee statue out of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Perhaps Lee himself could lead the march on horseback with posters displaying statements he made in opposition to any Confederate monuments. Ghosts could emerge from Arlington Cemetery to protest that “We were supposed to be his memorial. A war maker’s land turned into a display of the dead is memorial enough.” UVA students could take a break from streaking the lawn and streak Emancipation Park with signs: “The only thing obscene here is a monument to racism and war!”
We could put up educational monuments in Emancipation Park: A monument displaying the racial wealth gap or the whites-only federal benefits of decades gone by, a monument to all the people enslaved in the U.S. South after emancipation, a monument to Charlottesville’s Sister Cities, a monument to peace. We could hold teach-ins. We could hold teach-ins and discussions that we invite those we disagree with to participate in. We could ask the world, including everyone who once boycotted North Carolina for gay rights, to boycott Virginia. We could all take a day off, have a party in every street, and ask “Why should we work? Robert E. Lee forced others to work for him and he’s our public hero!”
I could go on. Anyone could go on. The options are endless, and do not include the counterproductive tools of violence.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. War Is A Lie: Second Edition, published by Just World Books on April 5, 2016. I’ll come anywhere in the world to speak about it. Invite me!
[DS added the video reports.]
Baltimore quietly relocates 4 Confederate statues overnight
RT America on Aug 16, 2017
Four Confederate monuments were removed overnight in Baltimore, Maryland. Contractors removed the monuments unannounced, under cover of darkness, in an effort to act quickly and avoid the potential for any violence similar to the events in Charlottesville. RT America’s Ashlee Banks reports.
Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues After Activists Gave City Ultimatum
TheRealNews on Aug 16, 2017
Baltimore became the latest city to remove Confederate statues after neo-Nazis in Charlottesville killed one and injured dozens.
Removing statues ‘part of history of social change’ – historian
RT America on Aug 16, 2017
Confederate statues reflect many life and death issues today, and violent protests such as Charlottesville and the death of Heather Heyer weren’t accidental, Mark Bray, professor and historian at Dartmouth College, who wrote a book about Antifa, tells RT America.
RAW VIDEO: Durham protesters topple Confederate statue at old courthouse
CBS North Carolina on Aug 14, 2017
Meet the College Student Who Pulled Down a Confederate Statue in Durham & Defied White Supremacy
Democracy Now! on Aug 16, 2017
https://democracynow.org – A crowd of activists toppled a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina, on Monday, just two days after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. As the crowd shouted “We are the revolution,” a college student named Takiyah Thompson climbed up a ladder, looped a rope around the top of the Confederate Soldiers Monument in front of the old Durham County Courthouse and then pulled the statue to the ground. She was arrested the following day on two charges of felony inciting a riot and three misdemeanor charges, including defacing a statue. Thompson was released last night on a $10,000 unsecured bond. We speak with Thompson about her actions before her scheduled court hearing this morning.
Nazis against Nazis – Germany’s most involuntary charity walk
Rechts gegen Rechts on Nov 17, 2014
On November 15th, neo-Nazis walked through the streets of Wunsiedel. We could not stop them – but we could make them walk for something meaningful: and that is how for the first time a right-wing memorial march became a charity walk – without knowing of the participants. For every meter they walked, €10 went to EXIT-Deutschland – a Nazi opt-out programme. The result: €10.000 and lots of surprised right-wing extremists. But we believe there is more to come. With your support. Engage against neo-Nazis – in everyday life, online or with a donation.
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